Top 10 Rarest Action Figures

Action figures are dolls for boys (and men). The whole collectable action figure craze was set off by the release of the Star War’s “Early Bird” figures in 1977. Since then action figures have become endemic; every movie and TV show seems to have released its own set of action figures. The rarity of any item is also represented by its value at auction.

The Mego Company, before Kenner released the Star Wars toys was, THE Company for action figures. It produced action figure lines for the Marvel Super heroes, Kiss and even Sonny and Cher. The Mego Elastic collection produced in the late 1970’s rate among the rarest toys still extant.

Number ten: The Mego Elastic Spiderman, of which only 18 are known to exist and all of them are in less than mint condition.

Numbers nine, eight and seven: The “Telescoping Lightsaber” Darth Vader, Obi-wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker released as an “Early Bird” set of Kenner Star Wars toys. These figures had a small two piece lightsaber that would emerge from the hollow arms. The two piece lightsaber was easily broken and hard to manufacture, so in later versions of the toys, it was replaced by a one piece lightsaber. Only a few hundred of these figures were ever made. Last estimates are that about 15 of each of these figures still exist in the box.

Number six: Mego Elastic Incredible Hulk is the most sought after of all the Mego Elastics even though nine are currently known to exist making them less rare than the Superman and Batman action figures.

Number five: The Mego Company Elastic Superman of which only 5 or 6 are known to exist.

Number four: The rarest single action figure from the Mego Company is the mint Elastic Batman figure of which only two are known to exist; one sold for over $15,000 dollars in 2006.

Number three: The Robin Mego Figure with the Kresge Card only one known to exist and sold at auction for more than $12,000 dollars at auction in 2006.

Number two: The prototype G. I Joe. There is only one in the world. It cost $200,000 dollar when last sold. It now resides at the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. This Joe is 11 ½ inches tall and wears a handmade Olive Drab Sergeant’s uniform with a plastic M-1 “steel pot” helmet.

Number one: The Vlix action figure from the short lived Star Wars Droid’s Cartoon series. This action figure is so rare no one is sure one even still exists in mint condition. Kenner sold the molds and rights to a Brazilian toy company and this figure was never sold outside Brazil. If a collector can find one loose it would be about $4,000 dollars. If one still exists in the box, it could be worth several hundred thousand dollars.

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Top 10 Rarest Star Wars Figures

Number ten: Stormtrooper Luke Skywalker. Part of the 1985 “Power of the Force” set, this figure is Luke dressed as a Storm Trooper from “A New Hope” (the Original Star Wars Movie).   This figure is rare because by 1985, Star Wars figures were no longer big sellers and many retailers simply refused to stock them anymore.  A Mint in the Box StormTrooper Luke runs about $100 dollars.

Number Nine: Anakin-to-Darth Vader from the Hasbro Press Kit (2005).  Given only to guest at the Hasbro media showroom at the 2005 Toy Fair.  The figure features a figure of Anakin Skywalker on a rotating bases that when turned transforms into a Darth Vader.  In the box was tons of various press materials. Originally worth several thousand dollars at auction, it now runs about $400.

Number Eight: The Blue Snaggletooth released in 1978 as part of the Early Bird release. Story is that the toy designers only had a poor quality black and white photo of the character to go on.  So much of the design was mere guesswork. When the movie was released the Snaggletooth was actually red and about half human sized, not blue and human sized as the originally figures design. The blue figure was released only once. At auction this figure averages about $400 dollars.

Number Seven: “The Rocket Firing” Boba Fett released in 1980. Kenner originally released this figure with a missile that would actually shoot from the back pack. Safety concerns made Kenner glue all the missiles into the backpack on subsequent releases and even deny that they had ever manufactured one that really fired. However, “Rocket firing” Boba Fetts do pop up on auctions ever now and then. These figures go for anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 dollars.

Number Six: “Vinyl Cape” Jawa:  In 1978 Kenner produced a Jawa figure; it was half the size of the other figures released that year. When originally sold the Jawa figure had a tiny vinyl cape.  Many buyers felt that the Jawa figure was a bad deal because of its small size.  In the next run of the figure the cape was replaced by a sown cloth robe, so buyer would feel it was now a better value. A “Vinyl Cape Jawa” will cost a get about $2000 dollars. But beware; many of these figures have been faked by adding a homemade vinyl cape.

Number Five: “Yak Face”.   In 1985 Kenner decided to get out of the Star Wars action figure business.  And “Yak Face” has already been manufactured. To reduce the losses Kenner sent the Yak Face figure to Europe and Canada; it was never officially sold in America.  At last auction a mint condition Yak Face sold for $2,250.

Numbers two, three and four:  “Early Bird Release” “Telescoping Lightsaber” Darth Vader, Obi-wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. These three figures had two piece telescoping lightsaber that would extend from their hollow right arms. Only a few hundred of these figures were ever shipped to retail outlets. Seems that the tiny two piece lightsabers were extremely hard to make and very fragile. In later releases of these three figures the two-piece lightsabers were replaced by a single piece extendable part. Seems there are only about slightly more than a dozen of each of these figures are still in existence, although all of those are in mint in the box condition.   If you can find one be prepared to pay about $15,000 dollars.

Number one:  The Vlix action figure is not from the movies but instead is from the short lived Droid’s Cartoon series.  After Kenner decided to get out of the Star Wars action figure business, the company sold the molds and manufacturing rights to this figure to a Brazilian toy company.  The Vlix figure was sold only in Brazil and is so rare that a loose one can fetch $4,000 at auction.  A mint in the box one, if it even exists, could fetch tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Guide to Collecting GI Joe Action Figures

GI Joe was introduced in 1964 by the Hasbro Toy Company and was the very first action figure.

Starting with only four figures (Soldier, Sailor, Marine and Pilot) and some seventy-five addition items such as weapons, helmets and uniforms.  In 1965 an African-America Joe was introduced, followed in 1967 with talking Joes and the only female Joe, the G. I. Joe Nurse figure.  In 1977 the original 12 inch tall figures were reduced to 8 inches in size, and then in 1978 the line was discontinued.   In the early 80’s the line was restarted as 3 and ¾ inch figures; these figures came from characters from the 1980’s Cartoon show. The cartoon was a series of adventures as G I Joe fought the evil Cobra organization.

Since its debut in 1964 the GI Joe line has generated hundreds of action figures, thousands of additional items, a cartoon series and two big screen movies.

The single most expensive action figure in the world is the Prototype GI Joe from the Hasbro Company which cost $200,000 dollars in 2003 and now resides at the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. The Joe prototype is dressed in a hand sown OD green Sergeant’s uniform and has a plastic M-1 “steel pot” styled helmet and canteen, but no weapons.

Of course, the most of the rest of the collectible G I Joe figures are valued at much less than $200,000, also, of course, the most collectible and priciest figures are the older 12 inch figures and generally the more rare the figure, the more it costs.  Also very collectible and valuable are the various play sets.

The Prices below are for those figures and sets still in mint condition:

The Shore Patrol Equipment Set released in 1967 worth about $3500 dollars.

The Talking landing Signal Officer Set from 1968 also valued at about $3500 dollars.

The Crash Crew Fire Truck Vehicle Set released in 1967 also valued at about $3500 dollars.

The Dress Parade Adventure Pack from 1968 also about $3500 dollars.

The Talking Shore Patrol Set also made in 1968 also about $3500 dollars.

The Military Police Equipment Set from 1967 valued at $3500 dollars.

The Army Adventure Pack, Bivouac Equipment Set from 1968 valued at $3500 dollars.

The Flying Space Adventure Set made in 1970 is valued at $3700 dollars.

The Canadian Mountie Set was sold only through Sears Stores in 1967 is worth $4000 dollars.

The Action Soldiers of the World Talking Adventure Pack from 1968 is worth $5000 dollars.

And the crème de la crème of Joe Collecting is the G. I. Joe Nurse from 1967 and is valued at $5000 or more.

Source:

Justin Moen “Toys & Prices 2010”  Krause Publications, 2009.